John Cleary: Cork head to face Dublin with a positive mindset

All-Ireland quarter-final takes place at Croke Park at 6pm on Saturday
John Cleary: Cork head to face Dublin with a positive mindset

Cork interim manager John Cleary. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

JOHN CLEARY has faced many tough opponents as a manager and player but none more daunting than Saturday’s All-Ireland senior quarter-final against Dublin in Croke Park.

“It probably doesn’t get much tougher than this,” the Cork interim senior football manager told The Echo.

“We are playing Dublin and they have already torn apart two teams ranked above us, Meath and Kildare, in their last two games. So there is no doubt but that it is going to be difficult for us. In all these situations, it is 15 against 15. 

We will put our plans in place, go out there and give it our best shot. We will give a very good account of ourselves.

“Where we are right now is that we want to go out and win the match. There is nothing else in our mind only, whoever our opponent is, that we go out there with a positive mindset.

“As I said, it is 15 against 15, we want to win and see where things take us from there.”

Cathail O'Mahony of Cork is tackled by Iain Corbett and Sean O'Dea of Limerick. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Cathail O'Mahony of Cork is tackled by Iain Corbett and Sean O'Dea of Limerick. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Cork head to the capital with confidence restored following their Munster semi-final exit to Kerry.

Consecutive wins over Louth and Limerick in the All-Ireland qualifiers have the Rebels looking forward to taking the field at Croke Park as underdogs with nothing to lose.

“Playing Louth and Limerick, with respect to them, are games we’d have been expected to win and it would have been disappointing not to have beaten them,” Cleary said.

“It was pleasing to get over those hurdles. They were teams that had to be beaten. 

They were both difficult games in their own ways. Look, we kept at it and got over the line.

“Now we face Dublin and it is a case of just keeping doing what we have been doing. Time is short enough between matches. You really can’t change, fundamentally, what you’ve been doing.

“There might be one or two tweaks depending on the opposition. In that regard, we have prepared for Dublin as best we possibly could.”

The shorter inter-county season may not be a help when it comes to players' injuries having time to heal but knowing when and where games are on has given John Cleary adequate time to plan. Croke Park on Saturday is no different.

“Over the last couple of years you have seven league games in eight weeks and then three or four weeks to the championship where everything just rolls on week after week,” the interim boss said.

“The Munster semi-final against Kerry was OK for about 45 or 50 minutes.

“Two wins in the All-Ireland championship qualifiers after that, it is great for any team no matter who you are playing.”

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